Category Archives: Fitness

Spring TLC

Happy Spring!!! I mean Hello Winter!!!  I mean happy Spring!  Oh… winter again… what season are we in?  Your animals are asking the same question!!! They are stepping in snow, dirt, COLD water, ice… a bit of everything!  And most of the time, at least some of their surfaces are incredibly uneven and VERY slippery this time of year, and without the buffer of a little snow on top.  We are giddy to get out, as are they… but a couple of things to keep in mind for you and your pets before your SPRING out the door!

1. Watch for ice!

If you can slip, so can your animals!  Yes, they have 4 legs so typically don’t land on their butts as often as we do and on occasion if we are walking them on a leash or lead, they may even be keeping us on our toes!  I know Jasper has done that for me on many occasions!  But the ice can still be hard on their feet, cause little twists and tweaks that they feel throughout their bodies.  Just this morning I have seen more of my healthy dogs who are adjusted to maintain their health with slight problems or subluxations in their paws, limbs, and low back, just from slipping on the ice!  Be aware of the surfaces they are walking on and the extra stress this causes their body.  Give them the TLC they need, including chiropractic!  Seasonally is a great time for a chiropractic checkup for your pets, even without symptoms, to keep them at their very best for a long time!

2. Monitor their fitness

Yes, they get cabin fever just like us!  And boy is that epidemic this year in humans AND animals!  But remember just like us they may have lost some fitness or gained some weight over the winter, so its important to remember to ease them back into activity or work gently, just like us!

3. Have fun!!!!

There is a glimmer of hope starting in the form of the smells and sounds of spring (have you heard the birds chirping?) and so its time to have fun!  Yes it may be raining sometimes, but its at least possible to get out and not freeze, so get out and have fun!  It will bring a glow to your cheeks and your animal’s heart as well!  Time we bust out of the house or the office or wherever we have hibernated and embrace the spring with all the joy of the birds!  Have fun playing or doing whatever you love to do outside… we’ve earned it!!!!

Including your Animal in New Year’s Resolutions

Do you have some healthy new year’s resolutions? Do any of them include your pet?  Some common resolutions that I hear from my patients are: losing weight, eating better, getting more exercise, spending more time with family.  These are super things to work on with your animals too!  The following are some tips to making your new year’s resolutions pet friendly.

Losing Weight and Eating Better

MOST of our animals also need to knock off a few pounds!  Just like humans, we want to see a waist on our animals.  Ideally we should also be able to feel their ribs.  Any animal professional can give you an idea if your pet needs to shed weight, or take a look at the chart at the end of this blog to gauge where your animal is.  Most of the animals I see fall in the Overweight or Obese categories!  My veterinarian colleague will agree.  This leaves your animal more prone to injuries as well as disease and shortened life-span.  On a human note, many of the criteria for our animals will also give us a gauge of ourselves. Make sure that if you or your animal embarks on a weight loss program that you make it a LIFESTYLE: something you will be able to maintain.  And consider not just focusing on weight, but rather on getting more great stuff into your body and your dog’s body too! A few tips:

1.       Focus on portion size and if reducing, DO SO SLOWLY.

2.       Use fruits (of course not grapes or raisins for dogs) and vegetables as snacks or treats. Try healthy snacks made with healthy real food from places like the Barkery in Stratford.

3.       Limit snacks or table scraps.

4.       Your animal does not need to know what ice cream or other human indulgences tastes like!

5.       Make exercise an essential part of your and your pet’s weight loss plan!

Increasing Exercise

Exercise is essential to health!  Research says that we need not run a marathon to get in shape.  Simply exercising 30 minutes daily is sufficient for increased health in humans. (Check out the video 23 ½ hours on YouTube!) Bear in mind that depending on your pet, more or less might be ideal.  And remember that often our animals are inside all day long or cooped up in their stalls the whole day.  They aren’t moving a lot unless with us, so they really need the exercise to stimulate their mind, body, AND spirit.  And what a great way to bond with your animal; perhaps it’s them that will be getting you out of the house in the first place!

A few tips:

1.       Increase activity SLOWLY, generally an increase of about 10-15% per week is a healthy pace for both humans and animals.  Causing an injury by overdoing it can stop exercise entirely.

2.       Make it enjoyable! This will make you both excited to get off the couch and make it easier for you to make the time in your day.

3.       For dogs, try something like Fido’s Playground daycare for those days when you can’t make it for a walk or already have your workout planned elsewhere. They will be run off their paws!

4.       Make sure that your animal is physically able to do the exercise. As a runner I always watch the form of the runners I see out and about. Sadly many of the dogs accompanying them, although keeping up to them, do have some movement problems that will lead to daily problems eventually.  It’s like running with a pebble in your shoe, its worse over increased distance. Consider having your animal adjusted to keep them in tip top shape and treat them like the athletes they are!

5.       If your animal is older and slowing down, shorter and slower bouts of exercise will help.  I have seen great changes in exactly these animals with chiropractic, so much so that they are once again dragging YOU out the door!

 Spending more time with your family

Our animals ARE our family!  They get so much joy out of time with us as we do with them.  I know that my heart rate decreases, stress level goes down, and my smile increased as soon as I get home and get a greeting and snuggle with Jasper!  Jason and I both laugh more when playing with our dog and truly enjoy the bonding time.  Maybe its throwing a ball, maybe training for sports, maybe it’s a trail ride, or maybe it’s an interactive toy for you and your cat… whatever it is, don’t we have these amazing animals in our life to enjoy them?  It’s GREAT for your stress level to embrace the animal in your life and will being peace, joy, and simplicity back into your life.  Enjoy your family time with your animal!IMG_8137 imiller

animal weight chart